Last start Sale Cup champion Mouro will shoot for another victory this weekend when they race in a smart 2013 Eclipse Stakes field on Zipping Classic Day at Caulfield.
There are six Group status races running at the meeting which has been moved from its traditional home at Sandown Racecourse due to upgrades at the track there.
One of the top support races on the card is the $150,000 Group 3 Snowhite Maintenance Eclipse Stakes (1800m) which features a final field of 10 hopefuls.
Carrying the hefty 59kg topweight and drawn in the outside gate is the Tony McEvoy-trained Mouro.
The American-bred galloper will be ridden by this year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver as the Grand Slam stallion backs up from a win in the Sale Cup over the mile from October 27 when carrying 58kg.
That was Mouro’s first win since the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawksbury back in May and Saturday will see the import step up to 1800m for the first time in their 12-start career to date.
There are three other last-start winners in the mix including the Wez Hunter-trained Bel Thor (barrier four).
God’s Own four-year-old Bel Thor was fourth to German import Pakal in the Cranbourne Cup earlier in the spring before a brave Moonee Valley second behind Hvasstan on Cox Plate Day.
They were last seen producing a nice two and a half length win at Flemington last Saturday over 2000m, how they handle the drop back to 1800m here key to their performance before they are turned out for the season.
“He’s really only had five weeks off this year so he has earned a spell in the paddock after Saturday and he will come back a stronger horse next year,” Hunter told AAP this week.
Hunter will also be pleased with their barrier after commenting on how important a good gate was so they “don’t have to do too much work early.”
Adelaide visitor St Gabriel meanwhile shoots for their fourth on the trot when they jump from gate five with Craig Newitt aboard having won their past three straight back home at Morphettville, while the Matthew Ellerton-trained Pin Your Hopes comes off back-to-back wins.
Following Mouro in the Eclipse Stakes weights then on 57kg is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Rain Drum.
After winning the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in September the consistent Fastnet Rock six-year-old was fourth to Toydini in their Melbourne debut in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) on October 26.
Rain Drum finished fourth again last start on Cup Day when beaten two and a half lengths at Flemington by Salon Soldier in the Listed Victoria Plate (1800m) which they will be out to improve on here despite going up in weight.
The only other hopeful weighted above the 54kg minimum is then Robert Hickmott’s Irish import Hartani (54.5kg), Group 3 winner of the 2012 Curragh Cup, making their Australian debut in their first run in over a year.
The full Eclipse Stakes 2013 final field, barrier draw, jockeys and weights are all listed in the table below.
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2013 Eclipse Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 3 – 1:30pm (AEST) – 16/11/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2x6212x201||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||Damien Oliver||10||59kg||104|
|2||313131×144||RAIN DRUM||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||3||57kg||100|
|3||511128x||HARTANI (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ben Melham||7||54.5kg||95|
|4||x312335421||BEL THOR||Wez Hunter||Dwayne Dunn||4||54kg||89|
|5||0027905050||VEEWAP||Tony Vasil||Glen Boss||8||54kg||88|
|6||101103×762||FELIDEA||Leon Corstens||Michael Rodd||9||54kg||85|
|7||20×9590111||ST GABRIEL||David & Ryan Balfour||Craig Newitt||5||54kg||84|
|8||22021×6032||ADJUSTER||Byron Cozamanis||Billy Egan||1||54kg||75|
|9||14724×2515||SAVITAR (NZ)||Lee & Shannon Hope||Craig Williams||2||54kg||74|
|10||22x19x2211||PIN YOUR HOPES (NZ)||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||6||54kg||708|